I seem to have been the only birder in Devon not to have seen a Red Kite from my house during lockdown - until today!  After 33 years of not seeing one in Chudleigh parish, finally I saw one at 3 pm flying north up the Teign Valley.  I gather one was also seen over Beggar's Bush, Haldon (within the parish), on the 12th.  My lockdown total for the parish is now 73 species. This includes breeding Mandarin Ducks and Dippers on the Teign, plus occasional Goosanders and a Hobby. Highlights on the Haldon fringe have included 4 pairs of Stonechat, 3 of Tree Pipit, masses of Siskins, a few Lesser Redpolls and at least 70 Crossbills, including young being fed. Notably missing so far: Whitethroat and Nightjar, although I haven't looked for the latter yet!

In the evenings we've been tracing the commuting routes of Greater Horseshoe Bats exiting south from Chudleigh Caves, to predict how they will cope with housing developments. Dormouse monitoring has started, with our first nest on the very edge of town. Botanical surveys have resulted in the discovery of over 1000 Adder's-tongue in one field, Bastard Balm in a superb hedgebank and a steep meadow covered in Early Purple Orchids; the main Greater Butterfly Orchid count will be tomorrow. There is more to life than birds!

Posted May 14th at 10:01 pm by Dave Smallshire in Bird News